December 2017

Overdrive Magazine | Trucking Business News & Owner Operator Info

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Page 40 of 75

December 2017 | Overdrive | 39 the curtain from the public by Congress, after lawmakers got an earful from truck- ers over issues of data quality, scoring fairness and more. States fi nally appear to be responding to a long push from truckers and, in some senses, regulators and lawmakers to get more jurisdictions to "fi nish the job" on clean inspections. That means inspectors go through the steps to fi le a Level 3 driver-credentials inspection, at least, with any quick check that other- wise might not rise to the status of a full Level 1 truck and driver inspection. "There is a concerted eff ort among the states to complete inspection reports when no violations are found," says Colin Mooney, executive director of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance. The coalition of law enforcement and trucking concerns oversees the national inspection program's levels, out of ser- vice criteria and more. "That can be a little subjective in terms – it's not always the case that a report should be generated" after every stop at the roadside or quick glance through a log book at a weigh station. All steps required by CVSA's inspection-level defi nitions must be completed to fi le an offi cial inspection. In 2016, nearly 46 percent of all inspections recorded in the states were totally clean inspections. That number has been growing slowly since 2010, the fi rst year for which Overdrive tracked statistics in its CSA's Data Trail series, when the number was just 38 percent. The trend accelerated in 2015 and 2016. If that rate continues through 2017, the next update could well show an overall majority of inspections resulting in no violations. Another reason for the rise in clean inspections also could be truckers' in- creased attention to ticky-tacky compli- ance points regarding the vehicle, hours of service and other issues. California Highway Patrol Lt. Robert Nance nods to his state's in-use diesel emissions rules as another factor in this trend. "A lot of what we're seeing are newer trucks out there," some bought to Trucking's longtime call for law enforcement to follow through and complete reports for clean inspections seems to be getting through. MORE CLEAN INSPECTIONS: ENFORCEMENT CHANGE OR IMPROVED COMPLIANCE? The growth in clean inspections shows "a trend toward inspectors starting to complete the violation report" when it shows no violations, says Colin Mooney, executive director of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance. He and no doubt many truckers view that trend, somewhat refl ective of a change in enforcement practices, as cer- tainly "something that we want to contin- ue to encourage" since clean inspections help a carrier's CSA scores. From the perspective of an active enforcement department, however, it's not that black and white. Arizona Capt. Brian Preston says incentivizing clean inspections as a general rule isn't something he wants to actively encourage among his state's Depart- ment of Public Safety officers. While he also doesn't want to encourage officers to not turn in inspections where they don't find a violation, he views his department's priority to be finding problems that need correction. He makes an analogy to driving-un- der-the-infl uence enforcement. "Send a guy out on a Friday night and tell him to go out there and look for DUIs, and he doesn't come up with any – I'm only really concerned if there were in fact DUIs happening somewhere, and we didn't fi nd them." The same concept applies to truck en- forcement, he says. "If you did 20 inspec- tions and didn't fi nd a violation, maybe we need you to work different locations or go through some new training." Targeted, effective enforcement are the watchwords there, and Arizona's no slouch. It ranks No. 4 in violations per inspection found, and its clean inspec- tions percentage is the 14th lowest in the nation. However, that percentage is moving higher at a rate that beats most states, which you can see illustrated in the bottom map on page 40. The prevalence of clean inspections in Arizona increased by almost 20 percent in 2016 over the previous year. Preston says the national nature of that rise in preva- lence across many jurisdictions may well indicate more about truckers' practices than about the nature of enforcement. Attitudes toward compliance are changing fast, he suggests, as more businesses large and small are buttoning up their operations. Todd Dills

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